Date: 13 December 2011
Venue: Conference room 4, United Nations Headquarters, New York


The notion of ‘Human Security’ was first introduced as a distinct concept in United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report in 1994 and encompasses freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom to live in dignity. It addresses the multidimensional impacts of threats to people and communities, and requires people-centred, comprehensive, and context-specific responses. The 2011 World Development Report (WDR) reveals how 1.5 million people live in countries affected by conflict which is directly linked to human misery and disrupting development. In fact, no conflict-affect country has achieved any of the MDGs and poverty rates are, on average, 20 per cent higher than in other countries.
Migration is an area that includes many concerns of human security. Even though the risks are varied according to the different categories of migration (refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of trafficking, mixed migrants, etc.), in many cases, migrants are subject to economic, social, political and personal vulnerability. Conflict situations heightened threats to human security, affecting populations and causing people to flee violence. When volatility in a state occurs, its capacity to support and to protect people, especially non-citizens, may be weak. Therefore, people’s political, economic, social and culture rights may be significantly limited. As the situation in Libya revealed for migrant workers, a sudden outbreak of tension and hostility poses various threats to their security, including financial loss, spread of diseases, loss of basic services. As the migrants flee (more than three quarters of a million people have fled across Libya’s borders according to IOM), their vulnerability includes threats from criminal networks like trafficking and smuggling. Also, as migrants seek to escape, they must deal with food insecurity, violence and plunder even in detention centers, which often exceed its accommodation capacities. Further, after the outbreak of conflict, migrants may face discrimination and worse recrimination due to the fact that they are outsiders who may have supported a previous regime.
To discuss these issues, on the occasion of the International Migrants Day, this panel will analyze issues that arise in conflict situations characterized by the sudden onset of civil unrest and insecurity due to the rapid change of the political and institutional environment. Taking as paradigmatic example the recent development of events in Libya, the panel will focus, inter alia, on specific topics such as the challenges faced by migrant workers, migrants in the detention centres, and the increasing impact of smuggling and trafficking networks. It will explore the threats from an institutional and legal perspective as well as the compliance of States with international regulations.
Additional information

Information Note


Speakers' Biographies


Mr. Dianguina Doucouré (Fr) (En), Permanent Mission of Mali to the UN

Ms. Jane Bloom, ICMC-NGO Committee on Migration

Ms. Amy Muedin, IOM

Background Material

Humanitarian Emergency Response to the Libyan Crisis, February-September 2011, IOM

Response to Libya Crisis, Migration Crisis Operation in Middle East North Africa, November 2011, IOM

The World Development Report: Conflict, Security and Development, The World Bank

Activities of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, August 2011

Secretary-General Report on Human Security; 2010

Libya - Complex Emergency, USAID; September 2011

To explore the evolution of the Lybian conflict and impact on migrants, see the OCHA Libyan Situation Reports:

February; March; April; May; June; July; August; September; October; November

Contact: Pierpaolo Capalbo

Related Links:

Global Migration Group (GMG)

Blue Heart Caimpaign,  United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking